Suing For Civil Rights Violations or Discrimination
Victims of civil rights violation or any type of discrimination have the right to take their case to court and sue the offending entity or person. In some cases and some states, you may first have to file a formal complaint and fill out some detailed paperwork.
You may also have to determine whether your case is suitable for a state/district court or the federal court system.
There are special government agencies which handle the first response to a discrimination or civil rights violation. Once you have filed your complaint, the agency will then help guide you as to when and how you can file a lawsuit and if you even have the right to a lawsuit.
One example would be employees that feel they have been wronged by their employer must first contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before taking steps to file a suit. Once the EEOC reviews the information, they will determine if you have the “right to sue.” They will inform you in writing, and then you can take action.
Other state agencies investigate civil rights violations and work similarly in determining the validity of your claim before you can personally sue.
Federal or State
It is best to consult a legal representative to determine if your case should be handled by a state or federal court. Only specific types of cases that meet specific criteria are eligible to be heard in a federal courthouse. In some cases, you have the option of choosing state or federal court for your lawsuit.
Regardless of which court you settle on, you as the plaintiff will be burdened with proving a "preponderance of the evidence" that you were harmed due to actions that were taken by the defendant that violated your rights or discriminated against you.
The laws regarding civil rights and discrimination can be complicated, and it is often best to consult a civil rights specialist attorney or representative to help you navigate the tricky legal waters while you attempt to obtain justice for your unique situation.